Alternative specification unlocks sustainability and aesthetic benefits without performance compromise
2020 saw a record high in the numbers of students seeking further education opportunities. With undergraduate populations rising across the UK, there are increasing pressures to deliver enough suitable and purpose-built accommodation to house those looking to undertake further education courses.
To meet rising demand, student accommodation developers are looking to work with suppliers to create appealing living spaces that benefit from a combination of attractive aesthetics to enhance the local environment, strong sustainability credentials and cost efficiencies.
Eurocell’s involvement in a recent large scale student accommodation construction project helped to add value through the specification of a high quality, striking and versatile PVC-U window solution.
Changing the scheme’s original window specification choice from aluminium to Eurocell’s MODUS Flush Sash solution has supported the development’s sustainability objectives without compromise to desired performance, provided a finish that has delighted the building designers and students alike and contributed substantial cost savings.
Future Generation specialises in the development and design of exceptional student accommodation projects, building living spaces that students want to live in at locations that suit them.
When planning new purpose-built student accommodation - the Hythe Mills student residence in Colchester - it had originally specified the use of aluminium as the window material of choice for the 229-bedroom, fitness studio and networking hub, which is situated about one mile from the University of Essex.
However, following discussions with Eurocell, the original window specification was changed to incorporate the company’s MODUS Flush sash solution, as Gary Driscoll, sales & commercial director at Eurocell, highlights: “We were asked by Future Generation to see how we could value engineer the specification of windows but without any compromise to the aesthetics and long-term window performance required by the design team.
“We suggested switching the window specification from the original aluminium choice to our high performing MODUS Flush Sash product. In discussions with the client, it was identified that it would deliver added value benefits to the building project. These included improving the aesthetic appeal via the use of a lower profile to give improved sightlines, guaranteeing the window performance for the long-term and using a PVC-U profile that is manufactured sustainably. We were also able to demonstrate an overall cost saving of around 25% compared to the alternative spec, which the construction team was able to divert to other parts of the building. It added up to a compelling argument to install MODUS at Hythe Mills.”
Any Eurocell proposition ensures all the important factors, in addition to cost, are considered when recommending a solution. These include technical factors such as ensuring wind load calculations for mid to high rise buildings are expertly assessed, and that thermal efficiency, sound acoustic performance and a window size to deliver optimum levels of light into rooms, are all suitable for the building design in question. Safety aspects such as window openings, the guarantee of adequate room ventilation, as well as overall aesthetic appeal, are also seen as priorities to deliver project success. These were all delivered on the Hythe Mills project.
Sustainability sits at the heart of the Eurocell offer. Using its own recycling plants to transform old waste plastic products into new and reusable PVC-U profiles through a closed loop recycling scheme, it is helping to drive efforts by the construction industry to increase the prevalence of greener solutions that support the environment. Such a sustainable approach has been employed on the Hythe Mills project, with all the installed Eurocell windows emanating from a recycled source.
The process of specification was quick and straightforward between Eurocell and Future Generation. To satisfy all stakeholders, including local planning, Eurocell and fabrication partners GJB, designed and constructed a full-size sample using the MODUS Flush Sash in Smooth RAL7016. Once viewed by the planners and the client, agreement was swiftly reached, and orders placed.
Delivery ahead of schedule
With the pressure on to support the construction timescale, Eurocell and GJB worked collaboratively to ensure the profile and fabrication process maintained the required momentum. As such, the construction team took delivery of the MODUS windows around 6 weeks ahead of the anticipated date when the originally specified aluminium windows were expected. This enabled the onsite team to maximise the efficiency of the build timetable and helped them avoid the unwanted costs that can result from unplanned delays in the supply of products.
Hythe Mills is a prime example of where early project collaboration can unearth alternative product solution answers which can exceed the original specification objectives and help save a client’s money to reinvest finances into other parts of the scheme.
Gary concludes: “Both Eurocell and Future Generation are delighted with the outcome of the Hythe Mills scheme. We were able to demonstrate that switching to the MODUS solution would add real value. We helped to enhance the visual appeal of the building, utilised a proven sustainable material source, have guaranteed that the windows will perform to a high level for many years to come, and helped the project identify substantial cost efficiencies.
Indeed, such was the success of the Colchester scheme, Eurocell was subsequently asked to supply another Future Generation student accommodation construction project in Guildford.”